Aidan O’Rourke & Kit Downes
Saturday 12 October 2019 @ 7:30 pm
Alvah Parish Hall
Saturday 12 October 2019
Laughing Dog Music
Aidan O’Rourke is a fiddler, composer, producer and curator. With his trio Lau, in multiple solo projects and in collaborations, he has pioneered a new sound in Scottish folk music and redefined traditional forms. He joined Blazin’ Fiddles in 2008; in 2010 he formed the quartet Kan with whistle player Brian Finnegan; in 2016 he formed a duo with the jazz pianist Kit Downes. Lau came together in 2006 and their debut album set a precedent for politically-charged folk music that expands the form and experiments with sound while staying rooted in tradition. They have released five critically-acclaimed studio albums and won Best Group at the BBC 2 Folk Awards an unprecedented four times. As a composer, Aidan is a three-time winner of the PRSF New Music Biennial commission at the Southbank Centre; other commissioners include the Scottish Ensemble, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Sage Gateshead. As a curator, Aidan has co-directed multiple editions of the Lau-Land festival.
Multi-award winning fiddler, composer and producer Aidan O’Rourke (Lau) releases his new double album “365: Volume Two” on 9 August 2019 via Reveal Records. The 25-track deluxe double CD and story booklet follows last year’s sold-out “365: Volume One” with another beautifully sparse and emotive collection recorded with Mercury Prize nominee Kit Downes (ECM). Bold, tender, full of old truths and distilled modern wit, “365:Volume 2” is built on the beauty of the miniature. It’s a collaboration between artists steeped in tradition but constantly breaking new ground. In 2013, James Robertson – one of Scotland’s leading authors – wrote a short story every day for a year. It became an enchanting, roaming collection of fairytales and memories and provocations; that was only the beginning. A couple of years later, Aidan O’Rourke wrote a tune every day in response to the stories. The result is a major new body of 365 tunes – a significant addition to the Scottish traditional music canon. “365: Volume Two” presents highlights from the heart of the project. Aidan’s playing and writing are renowned for deep lyricism and off-kilter twists, here paired with kaleidoscopic harmonies of Kit Downes on harmonium and piano.
Aidan says: “This music is about storytelling – how to tell stories without saying too much. James Robertson wrote a story every day for a year, and each one was exactly 365 words. It began as an exercise but soon it became an essential ritual. James found the discipline addictive and he emerged a year later with a beautiful collection of tales. They are big stories, real stories, mysterious stories, old and new and weird and tender stories. I decided to test out the same process on composition, and in response to James’s words, I wrote a tune every day for a year. Inevitably the melodies are rooted in my own background as a Scottish folk fiddler, but when Kit Downes gets involved he takes the harmonies to the most wondrous places”.
Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes have recently played select shows with The Unthanks, before performing their own headline concerts in May 2019 and dates for New Music Biennial (featuring James Robertson) in collaboration with director Shilpa T-Hyland at London’s Southbank Centre and in Hull.
Praise for 365: Volume One:
‘An interesting exercise in music responding to James Robertson’s short stories, inspiring some beautiful nuggets from O’Rourke and piano/harmonium player Kit Downes’ THE GUARDIAN
‘It’s as if Debussy and Ravel were orchestrating Scottish Folk – truly beautiful’ **** SONGLINES
’Stories become music with the same succinct, meaningful style’ THE SCOTSMAN
‘Exquisite fiddle and thoughtful arrangements on a whole heap of intriguing new music – O’Rourke has significantly raised the bar’ LIVING TRADITION
‘A huge range of textures – new and unusual – you have to admire O’Rourke as a composer for being so prolific without resorting to repetition or minor variation’ LONDON JAZZ NEWS
‘Sometimes the tightest parameters inspire the best work’ THE FOUNTAIN
’An interesting, and more importantly, successful experimentation in the relationship between literature and music’ BRIGHT YOUNG FOLK
Under 16 / Full Time Education £6
Family (4 tickets, maximum 2 adults) £30
*(OAP, Disability or Unemployment Benefit)
Tickets will be available from the following outlets four weeks before the event:
Bremners of Foggie, Aberchirder – 01466 780260
British Red Cross Shop, 1 School Hill, Turriff, AB53 4DX – 01888 568209
Tickets also available on the door but booking advisable.